Thailand is hailed as the country of smiles and golden temple spires worldwide. A place where the beaches are so scalding hot, they cause your toes to shake, and the beaches are so beautifully white you have to wear sunglasses. All of this is true and more, which poses a challenging problem for tourists: where do you start with so many incredible things to see and do? So, let’s explore.
Top 10 Most Incredible Places to Visit in Thailand
Thanon Khao San (also known as Khao San Road) in Bangkok is a weird recreation of the former hippie trail built by travelers. Even so, you should see it before seeing Wat Pho, other temples atop Ko Ratanakosin, and the magnificent Chatuchak Weekend Market. Fill up on street food sticks and take in the lively ambiance.
- Khao Yai National Park
Just a few hours’ drive from Bangkok, Thailand’s most stunning wildlife preserve is home to some of the last remaining wild Thai tigers and elephants, monkeys, gibbons, bears, hornbills, and bearded dragons. Rainforest hikes take place on terrain covered in orchids and vines as waterfalls crash into pools of the bush.
Phuket, Thailand’s family-friendly entry point and the starting point of choice for families making their first trip to the country, serves as the entrance to its southern beaches. The beaches are wonderful and sand-strewn, the food is flavorful and spicy, the resorts are air-conditioned, and there are plenty of activities for kids, including kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing as visits to the mangroves.
- Ko Tautao
Ko Tarutao Marine National Park is Thailand’s last remaining true island getaway because it is so far south that it almost touches Malaysia. Most of the 51 sand-ringed, reef-fringed islands that make up laid-back Ko Lipe are included in the national park, which means affordable beachside camping, abundant wildlife, and the opportunity to live like Robinson Crusoe in the modern era.
Kanchanaburi is more than only the River Kwai Bridge, which is well-known. See dazzling monasteries, stay in floating guesthouses on the river, learn about the complicated history of the Thailand-Burma railroad, and pay your respects at Wartime cemeteries. Then, hire a scooter and leave the city to explore the waterfall-filled Sai Yok and Erawan National Parks.
- Chiang Mai
The metropolis of the north, the historic Chiang Mai, boasts stunning monasteries on every street. Some are small jewelry boxes covered in mosaics, while others are towering buildings made of hand-hewn teak or antique artifacts of exposed brickwork and carved stucco that dates back hundreds of years.
People often refer to “climbing at Krabi,” yet the stunning karst cliffs are outside the city, encircling the beaches of Railay East, Railay West, and Ton Sai. The sea cliffs of Railay are one of the best climbing playgrounds in the world, with dozens of routes bolted for sport climbers. This is one of the ideal Thailand experiences when you combine it with the country’s dazzling white beaches, forest hikes, affordable beach hut lodging, and access by longtail boat.
- Isan Region
The Isan culture is dominant in remote northeastern Thailand, where the tourist influx has reduced to a trickle. You may explore bizarre sculpture gardens, watch dragon boat races on the great Mekong River, and discover prehistoric rock art in Ubon Ratchathani in rural villages like Nong Khai and other outposts along the Mekong River to get a fresh perspective on Thailand.
- Similan Islands
The Similan Islands, located about 70 miles off the coast of Phang-Nga province, beckon to snorkelers and scuba divers like a beacon. Soft corals and colorful fish abound despite some hard coral bleaching, and there are nice island beaches to unwind on in between dives. The best sea life to look for is sharks, particularly whales and manta rays.
- Khao Sok National Park
One of the biggest and pongiest blooms in the world, the lovely Rafflesia kerrii, is only one of the natural treasures that await in this exceptional and breathtaking national park in the humid center of southern Thailand. A gentler excursion can involve tubing, kayaking, rafting, or staying in floating cottages atop tranquil Chiaw Lan Lake. Entry is by foot, hiking up towering limestone structures that soar overviews of the emerald rainforest.